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What is spread betting and how does it work in Australia?

What is spread betting and how does it work in Australia?
What is spread betting and how does it work in Australia?

Spread betting is a different way to bet on horse racing. You bet against the spread as opposed to placing a bet on fixed odds. You can bet on the following markets by “buying” or “selling” at the prices set. In “Index” markets points are awarded for the position horses finish in a race. These are used to calculate winnings and losses based on the price you either bought or sold at.

Horse Racing Spread Betting Markets

There are many horse racing spread betting markets. These involve individual races or an entire race card.

List of Horse Racing Spread Betting Markets

  • Race Index
  • Favourites Index
  • Racing Post Favourites
  • Double Card Index
  • Winning Distances
  • Starting Prices
  • Jockey Index
  • Match Bets

So spread betting is a form of wagering where the size of payoff is dependent on the accuracy of the bet. A traditional fixed-odds bet presents a simple win or loss equation: the punter either loses the bet and forfeits the stake, or wins and collects at odds.

Spread betting is different in that the size of the win or loss varies, depending on ‘how’ right or wrong the position taken is.

How does Spread betting work?

Each bet has a nominated unit: simple examples of this include a points margin or total goals.  The bookmaker will take a position in the market and then set a spread.

Punters place their wager on either side of the spread and nominate a bet amount.  For every unit they’re ‘right’ by, they win 1x their bet amount.  Otherwise, for every unit they’re wrong by, they lose 1x their bet amount.

What is spread betting and how does it work in Australia?

SO in this new way to bet if your bet wins by one point (or unit), you would win 1 x your bet amount (stake). If your bet wins by 2 units, you win 2 x stake. If your bet wins by 10 units, you win 10 x stake. Conversely, if you lose by 1 unit, you would lose 1 x stake. Lose by 10 units, lose 10 x stake.

As an example

  • Event: AFL match, Essendon vs North Melbourne
  • Bet Type: Line Bet
  • Essendon Line: -28 points
  • North Melbourne Line: +24 points

Here the bookie has set a four-point spread between the two teams.  Punters choose their stake and back Essendon -28 points, or North Melbourne +24 points.

Match outcome: Essendon win by 33 points.

Based on that score, Essendon backers won their bet by 5 points (+33 point margin, -28 point line).  Therefore they win 5x their nominated stake.

North Melbourne backers lost their bet by 9 points (-33 point margin, +24 point line).  They lose 9x their nominated stake.

Punters can choose their own stake: a North Melbourne backer betting $10 per point would have lost $90 (9 points x $10 stake).  An Essendon backer betting $300 per point would have won $1,500 (5 points x $300 stake).

Stop limits and Bet types

Most spread bookies allow punters to set a stop limit, which caps the maximum amount they can win (or lose) on a single bet. Whilst the above example uses simple match points and a line, some spread bookies offer almost endless combinations of units for betting on.  Examples include: 

  • Total match points (eg, AFL match points: < 170 or > 180)
  • Time of first goal (eg, < 300 seconds or > 400 seconds)
  • Tournament finishing position (eg, < 5th place or > 8th place)

Multipliers

On top of a multitude of different bet types, spread bookies also offer ‘multipliers’ where a number of factors are multiplied by each other to produce a single unit to which the spread is applied.
 

It’s certainly a different approach to sports betting.  It’s easy to get your head around the basics, but you need to think a little harder to make smarter bets.

Match line bets are a good example.  Punters are accustomed to approaching or taking a line bet that may only look a little off, but with spread betting paying out per point, you really want a bet that you’re confident will salute by a decent margin in order to ensure a good win.

A big attraction is that you’re in the game right until the end as every point or goal counts toward you either winning more or losing more.  This makes it really entertaining and great for recreational betting – if you’re sitting around watching a neutral game it’s a fun way to get involved.

On face value it can seem a little risky, but it’s really not that different to regular fixed odds betting as long as you stake sensibly.  Also you can limit your losses with most bookies which offers peace-of-mind.


Spread betting is completely different to fixed odds betting because your potential winnings or losses from a bet aren’t fixed, but variable right until the end of the game, you can find spread betting now with every online Australian bookies like Point bet and others.

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